Let's say that the province goes on funding the schools according to the current formula -- however inadequate that may be.
But let's say the province also provides each district with an Innovation Fund of $1,000 per student.
For Vancouver, that would be $56 million. For Vancouver Island North, it would be $1.55 million. For the total B.C. public-school population, the cost would be $580 million. (In 2009-10, B.C. schools' total operating expenses were just over $5 billion.)
Every school board would then issue a request for proposals from local teachers, staff, or district residents on how best to spend this innovation money. It could not go to repainting classrooms, or keeping a school open for another year, or paying for employee benefits. The proposals would have to offer a new program, a new technology, a new way to teach or learn.
Like a venture capital firm, every board would review the proposals and consult with teachers, parent advisory councils, and the public. The winning proposals would have to fit within the funds available and would have to show measurable results within two years of implementation: a reduced dropout rate, or improved test scores, for example.
A proposal that got results would be funded again, and perhaps in other districts as well. The province would also pay a royalty to the originating district: Maybe $10 for every student enrolled in a district that adopts the new program.
So if Vancouver adopted a program from Vancouver Island North, that would bring in an extra $560,000 for the schools in places like Port Alice, Sointula and Alert Bay for every year that Vancouver kept the program. The district could get a double royalty if its program was adopted in another province. And it could spend its royalties on anything it needed to.